Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us
She was a woman of substance. Tall, elegant, confident, beautiful; when she was in the room, you knew it. She wasn’t brash or obnoxious, but gentle and loving. Yet she would not back down from the truth.
If you spent five minutes with Bev, you would know that she had three great loves: Jesus, her family, and Muslim people (generally) and the people of Tunisia (specifically). She lived her life passionately devoted to these loves. She would be uncomfortable reading this, if she were alive, because she was keenly aware of her faults and shortcomings and uneasy accepting praise.
Love of Jesus
There was nothing more important to Bev than knowing and serving her lord and savior, Jesus Christ. She was passionate about sharing the gospel with anyone and everyone who needed to hear it. This isn’t to say that is was always easy or comfortable for her; she described how terrifying it was to go to the food court in Park Meadows mall and share as she was led. But her passion for obedience overcame her fear of people, rejection, or even personal safety.
As we studied the Bible together, she longed for a deeper call on the lives of Christians. Not content to simply “play church” and be comforted by soothing platitudes, she hungered for a radical commitment to the things of God in the truth of scripture. She keenly felt the demands of God’s word for personal holiness and selfless surrender. She knew that salvation was not purchased at the priceless cost of the death of Jesus so that we could live comfortable lives of mediocrity. Her passion was, like Oswald Chambers’ wrote, to give “My Utmost for His Highest”.
Love of Family
Bev loved her family more than anything else on earth. She was faithfully committed to her husband. This is not to say that their marriage was perfect; who among us can claim such a thing? No, broken people in relationship together will have issues. But she always stood by her husband. I never heard her say anything disparaging or derogatory about him, even when I suspected that she didn’t agree with his decisions. They stood by, supported, loved each other as they walked through life together.
She loved her children. Her heart was constantly towards them and when they hurt, she hurt. I had the privilege of praying with her and for her (and them) as each one went through various trying times. She was vulnerable to her friends, unashamedly weeping as she poured out her heart to her God on behalf of her children. She longed for her children and grandchildren to know her savior as she did.
Love of Tunisia
When the Missions team at Grace Chapel brought a challenge to the elders and congregation to “adopt” a particular people group, to commit to and focus on growing the indigenous church, Bev was among the first to “spy out the land”. Through multiple trips, prayer walks, and relationships started, God gave her a tender heart towards Tunisia and its people.
As her calling to Tunisia grew, Bev decided to learn French so she could communicate more effectively. She researched Muslim apologetics and cultivated relationships with Muslims both at home and in Tunisia. Her life became punctuated by the annual trips to Tunisia. Her heart had been gripped by the love of God for the people of Tunisia, and she longed for many to come to Christ.
She returned year after year, developing relationships, showing God’s love, patiently explaining the hope that is in Christ to anyone who would talk to her. In between trips, she had countless social media conversations with her Muslim friends; loving them, encouraging them, challenging them with the truth of God’s word.
Other than surrounded by her family, there was no place on earth that she wanted to be more than Tunisia. So it is fitting that, at the end a trip to love and serve the people of Tunisia, after enjoying a stroll along a beautiful beach, she stepped into eternity.
If you are wondering why I’m writing this tribute, you aren’t alone, I’ve been wondering the same thing myself. While I would say that we were friends, we weren’t close. Although you might not know it from the way I described Bev, I can’t say I knew her well. We’d spent many years in the same Sunday School class, but I don’t think we’d ever been in each other’s homes. I’d characterize our relationship as “intimate acquaintances”.
My heart is for her husband and children, and I pray for them nearly daily as they grieve and navigate their loss and what life looks like after Bev. I know she was a key figure in the family dynamic.
Yet, her death has hit me hard. It’s not because we are about the same age, and her death reminds me of my own mortality. Death holds no fear for me (nor should it for any follower of Jesus).
In some way, the notion that she is in the presence of Jesus seems surreal to me. And that really bothers me. It seems that I’ve stopped thinking about, longing for, eagerly anticipating my redemption. I’ve gotten a little too comfortable here.
Thinking about her being in the presence of God reminds me that “well done, good and faithful servant” is not a given. It requires, well, actually being a good and faithful servant. And, as I am all to painfully aware of my own shortcomings, I know I need to live like she did: fully aware of my calling and fully committed to God’s purposes in my life.
Chances are good, unless you are part of my church family, you didn’t know Bev. Her death, to you, is less impactful than President Bush’s. However, I would hope that you are encouraged, in light of the testimony of a life well lived, and recognizing that Heaven is not just waiting, but watching, to renew your commitment to your call.
And if you don’t know what I’m talking about; if Jesus is not the ruler and king of your life; if in any way you are unsure about your eternity; the best response you can have is to let me introduce you to my savior. Then, one day, you can meet my friend Bev in eternity. Nothing would make her happier.